In Modern Marketing, It’s All About Location, Location, Location

Article Featured Image

Mobile apps that provide updated traffic information, such as Google Maps and Waze, have also acclimated consumers to readily sharing their location details.

Social media is another factor, as consumers have become comfortable with sharing their location on social media, checking in nearly everywhere they go, regardless of whether there is a benefit.

Customers know that sharing their locations not only will let friends and relatives know where to meet them, but some businesses might actually reward them for it.


Basic location-based marketing uses the internet, Wi-Fi, or beacons to determine the exact coordinates of a person—or, more accurately, the person’s phone or other mobile device. This data is often collected in relation to business’ brick-and-mortar sites, which they can then use to lure those people into those sites.

Location-based marketing also enables marketers to make specific offers to customers when they physically check in at a location or when they come within a certain distance of a business.

“Location-based marketing enables you to make more targeted offers,” says Hope Nieman, chief marketing officer at Tillster, a company that provides restaurant ordering solutions. “It makes ordering more convenient for customers.”

In addition to targeting specific customers with offers, more advanced techniques will use the location data to tailor the offers, Nieman adds. For example, a restaurant franchise might offer $1 off soup to customers in Milwaukee and $1 off a cold drink to customers in San Diego.

By using check-ins, geofencing, and geoconquesting, and combining location-based data with other customer information, marketers can better personalize their offers.

Check-ins: Yelp is by far the most common platform for consumers to check in to business locations. Companies commonly use the platform to offer rewards for first-time check-ins, with the idea that once a customer has checked in, he will be more engaged and therefore, more likely to visit again in the future.

Building loyalty after a customer’s first visit to an establishment is very important, agrees Jeremy Jacobs, founder and CEO of Enlighten, which offers marketing and other technologies to the cannabis industry. Once a person checks in the first time, it’s important to build the habit of frequenting the establishment rather than a competitor’s, based on the customer’s own purchasing tendencies (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).

There is a risk, though, with check-ins. Customers could, theoretically, check into a location without actually being there, so other technology, such as geofencing, has to be in place to ensure that the consumer actually is where he says he is.

Geofencing: Geofencing uses Wi-Fi, beacons, or radio frequency identification technology to recognize when a customer crosses into a certain geographic boundary, which can be as small as a single building, or comes within a certain distance of an establishment. Once the person crosses the geofence, an alert is triggered, and the company can automatically push out a notification or specific promotion. Communications stop when the device exits the geofence boundary.

This type of activity often relies on the customer having installed the business’s mobile app, but it is not always a requirement.

Geofencing is commonly used by restaurants, which often use this technique to build additional foot traffic.

Geofence boundaries can be altered to meet changing conditions.

In Mexico City, which notoriously has some of the worst traffic conditions in the world, Burger King franchises offered customers the “Traffic Jam Whopper,” with free delivery via bicycle messenger to drivers stuck in traffic.

Burger King used a combination of Waze banner ads and outdoor signage to alert drivers of the offering, which they could order via the company’s mobile app when they were within the geofenced area, which was designed to ensure the food would still be hot when it reached the stranded motorists.

The promotion was dynamic, able to shift locations depending on where the congestion was worst at given times.

According to Khan, participating restaurants saw a 63 percent jump in delivery orders, while downloads of the Burger King app rose significantly during the first week.

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues